Passed by the Industrial-Organizational Section of the Canadian Psychological Association (Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology). CSIOP, May, 1996
Ratified by the Canadian Psychological Association, August, 1996
The opinions expressed in this document are those of the Industrial-Organizational Section of the Canadian Psychological Association (Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology), CSIOP. They do not necessarily reflect those opinions of the Canadian Psychological Association, its Officers, Directors, or employees.
The Industrial-Organizational Section of the Canadian Psychological Association, also known as the Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (CSIOP), is putting forward a position paper in response to an increased demand for defining the training, research, and practice specific to Industrial-Organizational Psychology. The goal of this document is to clarify for both members of CSIOP, as well as individuals outside the Section, what the phrase "Industrial-Organizational Psychology" means. I-O Psychology is a professional as well as a research field and it is important to distinguish the profession from other professional areas of psychology such as Clinical, Educational, Counselling and Neuropsychology.
The defining process is expected to contribute to several constituents. First, it will encourage some standardization of post-graduate training in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Second, it may assist provincial governing bodies by providing a common metric to assess a "Specialist in Industrial-Organizational Psychology". Third, it may catalyze the advocacy of Industrial-Organizational Psychology in Canada by ensuring its distinctive status separate from other professional areas of psychology. Fourth, it will hopefully stimulate discussions with other areas of professional psychology to note where there are overlaps and where there are clearly defined boundaries in theory, research, and practice.
This paper was based on several documents relevant to Specialty Designation issues including: 1) Report of the CPA/CPAP Task Force on Specialty Designation (1989), 2) Specialty Designation in Psychology: Developing a Canadian Model (1994), 3) Guidelines for Training and Education in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Canada (1989), 4) Policies and Procedures for the Creation of Diplomats in Professional Psychology (1990), 5) Volume 7, No. 1 of the Professional Practice of Psychology, (1986) and 6) the College of Psychologists of Ontario Transitional Council Draft Discussion Paper on Specialty Designation (1993).
We regard this document as a "white paper" in that it is expected to be revised and updated as necessary. The document is not meant to be exclusive of the other areas of professional psychology (e.g., clinical, counselling, educational, neuropsychology). Indeed, we welcome their interest and are aware that there are several areas of overlapping competencies where it would be mutually beneficial to work as a single entity under the rubric of "Professional Psychology".
This document is not legally binding in any way. It is meant to be a current description of the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology and to lend guidance in the development and maintenance of post-graduate I-O training programs. Regulation of the licensure of individuals remains in the jurisdiction of provincial governing bodies. It is hoped that these bodies will, however, look to CSIOP, the national organization representing Industrial-Organizational Psychology in Canada, when designing their guidelines for licensure and specialty designation. Granting of a specialty designation in I-O Psychology does mean something quite distinct from a specialty designation in other areas of professional psychology. We feel it is in the consumers' - and our own - best interests to ensure that a common basis for designation as an I-O Psychologist be developed.
Industrial-Organizational Psychology is a field of both scientific research and professional practice that aims to further the welfare of people by: understanding the behaviour of individuals and organizations in the work place: helping individuals pursue meaningful and enriching work; and assisting organizations in the effective management of their human resources. The field is a broad one; I-O Psychology shares with other disciplines an interest in industrial relations, organizational behavior, organizational development, vocational and career counselling, training and development, and engineering psychology.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists are able to apply psychological theories to explain and enhance the effectiveness of human behaviour and cognition in the work place. In addition, the practice of I-O Psychology informs its scientific endeavors. These theories are drawn from a number of basic research areas including: psychometric theory /testing, social psychology, personality theory, learning theory, cognitive psychology, sensation and perception, human physiology and psychomotor performance. I-O Psychology stems from strong academic traditions, fostering the generation and testing of sound theoretical models. Because it is also an applied field, important components of I-O Psychology are the implications and application of research findings to applied settings.
The Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists (Canadian Psychological Association, 1991) outlines the principles that guide the day-to-day activities of I-O Psychologists. In the realms of research, practice, and teaching, all ethical standards are expected to be observed in the principle areas of: 1) respect for the dignity of persons, 2) responsible caring, 3) integrity in relationships, and 4) responsibility to society. The American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (1992) offers additional guidance on ethical issues.
I-O Psychologists must be familiar with the legal aspects of their profession. Psychology Acts in the provinces and territories regulate the practice of psychology including the registration, licensure, and disciplinary actions of individual practitioners. Due to the frequent use of measuring instruments in areas such as selection and evaluation of employees, I-O Psychologists must be familiar with the 1987 Canadian Psychological Association's Guidelines for Educational and Psychological Testing, and the 1987 Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology's Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures. Being current in the area of psychometrics is essential for I-O Psychologists, and they should be familiar with the relevant writings in this area. Specialists in I-O Psychology may be called upon to be expert witnesses in their area(s) of expertise (e.g., decisions regarding selection, promotion, etc.)
I-O Psychologists typically carry out their practice in organizational settings, and/or in instructing/counselling/assessing individuals so that they may pursue meaningful and enriching work. Their clients can be in the private, public, and/or not-for-profit sectors.
I-O Psychologists can be employed in Universities and Colleges, Independent Practices, Government Research Agencies, Consulting Firms, and Military, Industry, and Mental Health Services (Muchinsky, 1993).
The services provided by I-O Psychologists are diverse. They include:
- carrying out task analyzes,
- determining the knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics needed for certain jobs
- providing recommendations on how to assess potential employees or actually conducting the assessments,
- providing guidance on how to train employees,
- assessing work performance and motivate employees,
- determining group effects on work performance,
- examining communication within and commitment to the organization,
- understanding the human-machine system and the complexities of their interactions.
- assisting in the selection and training of competent leaders,
- assisting in career assessment and career development
- assisting in changing the organization to become more effective, and
- assisting in managing relationships between employees and managers.
This list is by no means exhaustive - it is a sampling to demonstrate the "breadth" of the field.
I-O Psychologists should be capable of critically evaluating, conducting and applying research in their field. These skills will largely be developed from course work, thesis and dissertation research, and field experiences, and include: 1) specific areas of I-O Psychology (elaborated on later in this document), 2) the general areas of the social, cognitive, and biological bases of behaviour, as well as individual differences, 3) measurement, research design and statistical analysis, and 4) ethical standards and professional practice. Consistent with the scientist-practitioner model, graduate students are expected to be exposed to both the research and practice of I-O Psychology, implying the are expected to be exposed to both the research and practice of I-O Psychology, implying the need for a formal internship period. "Real-world" experiences should follow a rigorous academic program so that the students can develop experience in applying the scientific method in identifying and solving organizational problems.
Due to the vast amount of knowledge in I-O Psychology, it is impossible for any one person to be fully-competent in all possible areas. It is up to the individual to "know their limitations" with regard to the research, teaching and practice of I-O Psychology.
The Guidelines for Graduate Training and Education in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Canada as put forward by Section 9 (CSIOP) of CPA (1989) form the basis for both doctoral and master's level course work training (Appendix). An implicit assumption in training an I-O Psychologist, is that they have the requisite background in the form of a recognized undergraduate psychology degree. In addition to content-based course work, it is also recommended that I-O Psychologists have applied experiences and/or internships in the I-O area to gain competencies in the practice of human resource management and consultation skills. This training should be carried out under the supervision of an I-O Psychologist.
It is noted that different provinces/territories have different regulations regarding the licensure of individual practitioners. The individuals themselves should be familiar with the licensing rules and regulations of their governing body. However, it is our hope that all of the provincial and territorial licensing bodies will use the information presented in this document when making decisions about the certification (i.e., specialty designation) of individuals as specialists in "Industrial-Organizational Psychology".
Although any one individual is not expected to be competent in all areas of the field, the competencies and skills that an I-O Psychologist are likely to have are many. A list of these competency areas are outlined in the Guidelines for Graduate Training and Education in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Canada (CSIOP, 1989). Programs aspiring to train I-O Psychologists and individuals working in the field of I-O Psychology should use these as a development guide. Clearly it is not be feasible for most, if not all, graduate training programs to ensure competency in all 22 areas listed. Diverse capacities of faculty members and resources available to programs will determine which of the competencies are able to be fully developed in any graduate student.
The CSIOP document provides recommended training strategies for each of these areas. The strategies include: graduate course work, advanced undergraduate course work, independent study, research, supervised experiences, on-the-job training, and professional workshops. See the Appendix provided for clarification on this issue.
1. Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in I-O Psychology
2. Organizational Theory
3. Work Motivation Theory
4. Statistical Methods/Data Analysis
5. Research Methods
6. Personnel Selection, Placement, and Classification
7. Performance Appraisal/Feedback
8. Measurement of Individual Differences
9. Organizational Development Theory
10. Job and Task Analysis
11. Criterion Development Theory
Complementary Areas: 12. Individual Assessment
13. Training: Theory, Program Design, and Evaluation
14. Attitude Theory
15. Career Development Theory
16. Human Performance/Human Factors/Ergonomics
Second Areas: 17. Small Group Theory and Processes
18. Decision Theory
19. Program Evaluation
20. Consumer Behavior
21. Fields of Psychology
22. History and Systems of Psychology
This list of competencies reflects the training specific to I-O Psychology. Although other competencies such as effective oral and written communication skills, developing interpersonal relationships, critical thinking, sensitivity to cultural diversity, and employee counselling skills are important, desirable and appropriate - they are to all areas of professional psychology and thus not included in this list. We would like to reiterate that the practical competencies of human resource management and consultation skills are essential for those planning to practice I-O Psychology in non-academic settings, and will most effectively be gained through practicum/internship experiences.
It is expected that I-O Psychologists will remain current and active participants in their professional community. This includes activities such as attendance at relevant professional conventions (e.g., CPA, SIOP, Academy of Management) conventions, participating in workshops offered at conventions, subscription to relevant journals, and other continuing education initiatives.
American Board of Professional Psychology, Inc. (1990). Policies and Procedures for the Creation of Diplomats in Professional Psychology.
American Psychological Association (1992). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. American Psychologist, 47, 1597-1611.
Canadian Psychological Association (1991). Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists.
Canadian Psychological Association (1987). Guidelines for Educational and Psychological Testing.
Canadian Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (1989). Guidelines for Graduate Training and Education in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Canada.
College of Psychologists of Ontario Transitional Council Draft Discussion Paper on Specialty Designation (1993).
CPA/CPAP Task Force on Specialty Designation (1989). Report of the CPA/CPAP Task Force on Specialty Designation.
Muchinsky (1993). Psychology Applied to Work (4th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Professional Practice of Psychology, Volume 7, No. 1. (1986).
Service, J., Sabourin, M., Catano, V., Day, V., Hayes, C., & MacDonald, W. (1994). Specialty Designation in Psychology: Developing a Canadian Model. Canadian Psychology, 35, 70-87.
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (1987). Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures. Arlington Heights, IL: Author.
© CSIOP 2019.